Why Arsenal should sign Nabil Fekir?
Background picture: Ronnie Macdonald, CC BY 4.0.
Arsenal has no one but themselves to blame for their downturn in form towards the end of the 2018/19 campaign. The Gunners won just once in their final five league fixtures, failing to capitalise on the constant slip-ups made by the teams in and around them in the table. They finished fifth before then losing the Europa League final to Chelsea. As a result, the North Londoners will be without Champions League football for a third consecutive season. It's the first time this has happened to them in the Premier League era.
Manager Unai Emery made some decent signings last summer, which at the time felt as though it would be enough to finish in the top four. But eventually, Arsenal fell just short, although their Spanish manager cannot be blamed for that. After spending twelve months at the Emirates, he'll now have a clearer idea about his playing squad. His Gunners portrait is beginning to take shape.
It's no secret that Arsenal managers have always had to operate on a shoe-string budget. The lack of Champions League football over the last few years certainly hasn't helped in that regard. With a reported £50million in the kitty this summer, and £6million already spent on Gabriel Martinelli, Emery will have to pick and choose what area(s) to invest in.
One potential area the Gunners could do with reinforcements in is the attacking midfielder role. Interestingly, if the rumours are to be believed, Emery has been offered the chance to sign Lyon star Nabil Fekir, for a mere £30million. As the 25-year-old has entered into the final year of his contract, while remaining determined to leave, this could be the perfect chance for Arsenal to strike. Understandably, Lyon themselves are looking to cash in as they don't want to risk losing the Frenchman for nothing in twelve months' time.
At this point, Fekir's proposed move is nothing more than a rumour. Following the departure of Aaron Ramsey coupled with Mesut Ozil's poor form, there's a major hole that needs filling at the Emirates. Let's not even talk about the inconsistent Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who hasn't settled since joining from Manchester United.
It must be frustrating for Arsenal fans as their team certainly doesn't lack firepower. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette rifled home a combined 35 league goals in the 2018/19 campaign. Imagine how high that number could have been with an influential midfielder like Fekir in behind them carving out the openings? In 145 Ligue 1 appearances, the Frenchman has scored 54 goals while tacking on 34 assists. Those mightily impressive numbers would only improve playing with better quality forwards in front of him.
Fekir has the speed, the creativity, the finishing prowess and the overall game to fit into an Arsenal team that loves to get the ball on the deck and play on the front foot. Let's not forget the Gunners are yet to find a long-term replacement for Alexis Sanchez. Again, I'm not sure there's a better fit out there than the versatile Lyon man.
Arsenal are in a favourable position, having practically a free run at Fekir if they want it. Now, it's up to Emery and the board to leave no stone in pursuit of their man, who is clearly better value than the £80million plus they would likely have to spend to get Wilfried Zaha...